Item Coversheet

Agenda Item - 10.A.


Agenda Memorandum



City Council Meeting
October  14, 2019

Visionary Leadership, Effective Governance and Proactive Regional Collaboration
Vibrant, Inclusive and Engaged Community
Beautiful, Desirable, Safe and Environmentally Responsible City
Dynamic, Diverse Economy 
Financially Sustainable Government Providing Excellence in City Services
Ease of Mobility
Subject:  
Resolution No. 22 Amending the 2020 Pay Plan and First Reading of Councillor's Bill No. 37 re Proposed Amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget

Prepared By: 

Chris M. Lindsey, Assistant City Manager

Theresa L. Booco, Policy & Budget Analyst

Fred Kellam, Policy & Budget Analyst

Dee Martin, Human Resources Director

 
Recommended City Council Action:
 
  1. Adopt Resolution No. 22 amending the 2020 Pay Plan.

  2. Pass Councillor’s Bill No. 37 on first reading amending the adopted 2020 budgets of the General, Water, Wastewater, Legacy Ridge Golf Course, Walnut Creek Golf Preserve, Storm Drainage, Parking Management, Fleet Maintenance, General Capital Outlay Replacement, Sales and Use Tax, Parks, Open Space and Trails, Conservation Trust, and General Capital Improvement Funds.
Summary Statement:

 

  • At the September 23 City Council Post Meeting, Staff provided an overview of the proposed amendments to the Adopted 2020 Budget and answered questions from City Council. A follow up discussion at the September 30 Study Session occurred where City Council provided further direction pertaining to one specific budget item.

  • A public meeting on the Adopted 2020 Budget was held on September 9, providing the public an opportunity to receive a financial update and make any requests or recommendations for the 2020 budget year. No requests were received at that time.

  • This Agenda Memorandum includes a summary of the items discussed at the budget review meeting and highlights the significant changes to the Adopted 2020 Budget.

  • Staff recommends amending the 2020 City Pay Plan with a 2% market adjustment to the pay ranges in the Non Exempt General, Non Exempt Police Sworn, Exempt, and Department/Division Manager Pay Plans. The recommended market adjustment will potentially impact all benefited Full Time Equivalents (FTE) through step in grade and merit increases.
Fiscal Impact:

$251,863,408 in expenditures, plus $72,864,075 in reserves and $1,000,000 in contingency.
Source of Funds:

General, General Reserve, General Fund Stabilization Reserve, Water, Wastewater, Utility Rate Stabilization Reserve, Utility Capital Project Reserve, Stormwater Drainage, Golf Course, Parking Management, Fleet Maintenance, General Capital Outlay Replacement, Sales & Use Tax, Parks Open Space and Trails (POST), Conservation Trust, General Capital Improvement, and Debt Service Funds.

 

Policy Issue(s):

 

  • Should City Council amend the 2020 Pay Plan as proposed?

  • Does City Council support the amendments recommended to the Adopted 2020 Budget as presented?
Alternative(s):

 

  • City Council could choose modify the Proposed Pay Plan, providing fewer or none of the changes proposed for 2020. Staff does not recommend this as an alternative as the recommendations are based on a thorough market review; modifying the Pay Plan from the current recommendation will reduce the City’s ability to compete for quality personnel in the public sector labor market and will not address needs supporting core services and the City's Strategic Plan.

 

  • City Council could direct Staff to identify other modifications to the Adopted 2020 Operating Budget. This is not recommended as it has already been reviewed by City Council and updated as directed.
Background Information:

 

City Council adopted the 2019/2020 Budget in October 2018. The amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget process includes an updated review of economic conditions, operating needs, and capital project priorities.

 

Economic Conditions

The Colorado Front Range economy is strong, yet signs are beginning to show that national and local economic growth could be peaking.

 

The economic engine for many of the services provided by the City, sales and use taxes, showed tremendous growth from 2017 to 2018. The Sales & Use Tax Fund alone grew by $3.2M, or 3.3%. While these numbers far exceeded expectations, revenues in recent months have been leveling. The August Financial Report shows that, while many revenues are exceeding projections, year-to-date sales tax returns are below budget.

 

Staff believes that the current economic growth is not likely to continue at the recent historical pace. Staff recommends continued precautions be taken in anticipation of future economic changes. These include continuing to maintain the General Reserve Fund at 10% of the operating budget as proposed in this amendment and maintaining the General Fund Stabilization Reserve at the upper end of the 5%-10% of the policy limit. Fortunately, during the past few years of tax growth, City Council has increased reserves in preparation of economic changes.

 

Staff continues to monitor revenues against expenditures and will keep City Council apprised of any key developments.

 

Proposed 2020 Budget Amendment

Attachment A is the Proposed Amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget. This document contains key documents associated with the proposed amendment, including:

 

  • Revenue & Expenditure Summary;

 

  • Operating Budget Summary;

 

  • Human Services Board Funding Recommendations;

 

  • Staffing; and

 

  • Capital Improvement Program.

 

Modifications Since the September 30 Budget Review

Upon receipt of direction from City Council, Staff made the following modifications to the proposed amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget:

 

  • An update to the 2020 Proposed Pay Plan to adjust the proposed ranges of the Police Pay Plan;

 

  • Increase in the associated budgets in the Police Department for the range adjustment;

 

  • Increase in General Fund, Central Charges, to increase benefits associated with the Police Pay range adjustment;

 

  • Increase in General Fund, Property Tax revenue, to offset the additional costs. At the end of August, both counties sent the City’s preliminary assessed property valuation, which is the basis for the property tax collections. Both calculated higher revenues than Staff had previously projected in the proposed amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget. The final valuation is not available until the end of November, and those have been known to decrease from the preliminary. While Staff believes this updated projection will be met, General Fund contingency is available otherwise.

 

Overview of Proposed Amendment Priorities

The 2020 Adopted Budget was approved by City Council in October 2018 and was built on the City's areas of investment, and upon which Staff has remained focused through the 2020 Budget Amendment process:

 

  • Financial Sustainability: Planning to sustain the City through economic downturns by increasing reserves. Staff will continue to align expenditures with revenues in a manner that plans for future operating and capital needs, and be intentional in communicating this to residents and the business community.

 

  • Infrastructure: Water and sewer utilities, streets, bridges, buildings, parks, trails, and other infrastructure are critical to the quality of life of in Westminster. There are greater demands for this important maintenance work than funding permits. Staff will continue to look at the Infrastructure Fee to fund some of these important repair and replacement projects and use other available funds to improve capital infrastructure.

 

  • Employees: Historically and presently, Westminster's elected leadership has recognized the need to recruit and retain top talent resulting in a staff comprised of exceptional employees. In order to maintain excellent employees, Staff recommend increasing wages and benefits to remain competitive, ongoing provision of training for professional development, and additional staffing to ensure adequate capacity to accomplish City Council's goals.

 

In addition, City Council adopted changes to the 2019 Budget, effective June 24, 2019, to implement the organizational redesign, an initiative that better aligns City resources to focus on the following areas:

 

  • Improve the City's financial sustainability through revenue diversification, streamlined operations, and better capital planning of all assets;

 

  • Infuse the organization with a culture of longer term planning through innovation;

 

  • Enhance both internal and external communication to be more strategic, educational, and tell Westminster's story;

 

  • Elevate our workforce development and prepare future leadership; and

 

  • Strengthen our business practices and reduce bureaucracy.

 

This Proposed Amendment to the 2020 Budget proposes to:

 

  • Maintain competitive staffing and total compensation;

 

  • Maintain existing infrastructure;

 

  • Complete the implementation of the organizational redesign;

 

  • Refine revenue projections to reflect 2018 actual collections as a step toward reducing future carryover;

 

  • Move the Information Technology Department to the General Fund to better align services and costs;

 

  • Create and fund a Parking Management Fund; and

 

  • Foster conditions conducive to growing the local economy.

 

Overall, the total City Budget, including all funds for 2020, is proposed to be modified from the Adopted total of $241,976,062, plus $67,129,570 in reserves and $1,000,000 in contingency, to $251,863,408, plus $72,864,075 in reserves and $1,000,000 in contingency. The change is primarily due to increases in general governmental revenues, tap fees in the Utility Fund, and the availability of carryover from 2018.

 

Staff have highlighted changes between the Adopted 2020 Budget and the Proposed Amendment in Attachment A.

 

Please note, the account table providing the detail behind the supplemental ordinance is available in the City Clerk's Office.

 

Proposed Staffing Amendment Overview

The 2020 Adopted New Staffing lists by Department/Division each new position (full-time equivalent or FTEs) authorized with the Adopted 2020 Budget. It includes the projected full year salary for the approved 13.00 FTEs for a total of $879,829 in the General and Utility Funds.

 

The 2020 Proposed New Staffing includes the full-year salary and also reflects how much of the year the position is being funded in 2020. A total of 4.00 new personnel are proposed with the amendment to the 2020 Budget and 2020 Pay Plan (1.00 regular FTE and 3.00 temporarily funded positions the in General Fund for a total of $267,102).

 

Proposed Amended 2020 Capital Improvement Program Overview

Consistent with the Adopted 2020 Budget within the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the Proposed Amended 2020 CIP continues to reflect an effort to move forward on many capital improvement fronts to maintain existing infrastructure as well as to enhance community quality of life.

 

Staff have prepared the Proposed Amended 2020 CIP with a primary goal of maintaining the integrity of the key objectives of the Adopted 2020 CIP. Changes proposed in the Proposed Amended 2020 CIP focus on efforts to help the City:

 

  • Maintain existing infrastructure and amenities;

 

  • Foster conditions conducive to redevelopment activities; and

 

  • Foster conditions that support economic development activities.

 

The proposed allocation of additional funding is proposed to be used for both existing projects where a funding shortfall exists, and for new, high-priority projects. Funding to amend the Adopted CIP is derived from:

 

  • Use of unspent 2018 funds; and

 

  • An increase in estimated revenues for fiscal year 2020.

 

Proposed amendments to the City’s 2020 CIP result in a total proposed increase of just over $3.8 million in 2020, bringing the total Proposed Amended 2020 CIP to approximately $48.4 million. With the exception of $79,000 in proposed adjustments across the Utility Fund CIP, all of the proposed changes are in the General CIP. Within the General CIP, $200,000 is proposed for use for Parks, Recreation and Libraries (PRL) projects, as certain PRL revenues have historically been earmarked for PRL projects.

 

A listing of all CIP projects is included in Attachment A for the Amended 2020 CIP, followed by a more detailed section including project descriptions. 

 

Citizen Requests

A public meeting on the Proposed 2020 Budget Amendment took place on September 9.  No citizen requests were received at that meeting.

 

However, Staff received the following citizen requests on September 2, both contained in a letter dated September 3, 2019, from Laurie Persico, President, Stratford Lakes Master Homeowner's Association and emailed to Mayor Pro Tem Seitz, who then forwarded it to Staff on September 3, 2019:

1.  Request:  "A safety traffic mirror is needed to prevent blind spot accidents from occurring at the intersection of Stratford Lakes Drive and W. 113th Avenue.  Residents are finding it very difficult to pull out of this intersection due to the curve of the road.  The intersection has a drastic blind spot of vehicles and bicyclists driving north from the entrance along Stratford Lakes Drive.  A mirror facing W. 113th Avenue would decrease potential accidents."

 

Staff Research:  Staff looked into the crash history at this intersection and there have been no accident reports in the last 10 years.  With that said, the proposed striping mentioned in response to Request #2 (below) may help with this concern by defining the drive lane for northbound traffic.

 

Staff Recommendation: The City will observe this intersection for the concern mentioned to see if striping implemented improves this area. As part of the observation, Staff will evaluate this intersection for the potential addition of the mirror.

 

City Council Direction: City Council concurred with the Staff recommendation.

 

2.  Request:  "Also, the community school bus stop is on W. 114th Circle.  The proximity of the bus stop is efficiently located in the middle of the development.  A high percentage of children must cross the intersection of Stratford Lakes Drive and W. 114th Circle in order to get to the bus stop or home in the afternoons.  As this is in the middle of the development, vehicles are driving at 25 MPH or higher within this area.  Residents have had police assistance in monitoring speed control over the last few years at times to reduce potential accidents and speeding.  Unfortunately, with the start of the new school year, the danger to the community children begins again.  We would like to request a crosswalk be installed at the intersection of W. 114th Circle and Stratford Lakes Drive in order to reduce the safety hazard to children and families crossing the street at this intersection."

 

Staff Research:  Staff have studied this intersection a few times to determine if an “ALL WAY” stop is warranted. The volumes on 114th Circle and on King Street did not meet the warrant and therefore Staff at this time cannot recommend this intersection for an all way stop. Understanding and observing the school bus pick-up and drop-off, Staff agrees that this intersection could be improved to alert drivers to be alert for pedestrians.

 

Staff Recommendation:  The 114th Circle and Stratford Lakes Drive intersection was one of the identified areas to receive the crosswalk and some additional striping to help with the speed and safety concerns. Staff will also be purchasing and installing a set of the rectangular rapid flashing beacons for the crosswalk.  These improvements will be completed in the fall of 2019.

 

City Council Direction: City Council concurred with the Staff recommendation.

 

Two additional requests, noted below, were received on Wednesday, September 18.

 

3. Request: On September 18, 2019, City Council received a letter from Bill Christopher. In the letter, Mr. Christopher made the following request: “First, if you have read my op-ed columns in the Westminster Window dated September 11th and 18th, you are aware that the existing two year budget is woefully insufficient to purchase additional open space parcels. Over time, city councils have allowed the POST Fund to be shifted from land acquisitions to maintenance, debt service, Parks and Recreation capital improvements/repairs and Golf Course Fund improvements and subsidizing golf course debt.

Given the continued pace of new residential development which is consuming more and more available vacant land, I would suggest to the City Council that you return to at least a moderate level of open space land acquisitions and additional trail development. Currently, you have an approved 2020 Budget which has less than 1% of the $7.7 million in POST expenditures earmarked for open space land purchases. According to the City’s Comprehensive Plan updated information, there are 1,066 acres of vacant, developable land left within the City limits. It is not too soon to correct your priorities starting with the 2020 POST Budget and add at least $1.0 million for each coming year to acquire open space. It would be an excellent way to help slow down all of the apartment developments being approved and built.”

 

Staff Research: In 1985, voters in Westminster approved a sales tax to acquire and preserve open space. At that time, Westminster was the second municipality in Colorado to implement an open space program. In 2006, POST was reauthorized to include acquiring, developing, enhancing, and maintaining parks, open space,recreational facilities and trails in the City.

In 2014, the City Council adopted the Open Space Stewardship Plan, with an eye toward management of open space:

 

The shift of priorities and focus swings to the management and stewardship of these properties... Now, it is time to start focusing on the stewardship of these lands in order to conserve them for future generations.

After several decades of planning and acquisition, the City of Westminster’s open space system now requires a thoughtful approach to long term management of treasured and valuable assets. The 2014 Open Space Stewardship Plan contains tools that will allow city staff to make decisions concerning land management needs, acquisitions, trail usage, and future capital improvements. Focusing heavily on land stewardship, this plan will identify open space land management responsibilities, associated costs, needed resources, and future projected capital improvements. The goal of this plan is to provide a foundation that can be used to assemble an open space management program at a level that is complete and comprehensive.

 

Since the initial voter-approved Parks and Open Space Tax (POST) in 1986, and subsequent re-approvals of POST by the voters, the City, to date has leveraged POST to increase the amount of open space to 3,099 acres. 

Staff continues to implement the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) adopted last year by City Council with minimal amendments proposed. Staff continues to work with regional partners to fund and acquire additional open space.

 

Staff Recommendation: Staff agrees that the acquisition of open space is critical to the goals of sustainability, conservation, and well-planned development. The City's Strategic Plan contains an action item to, "Implement the Open Space Stewardship Plan, continuing shift in focus to maintenance and strategic acquisitions."

 

To that end, Staff will continue to review potential open space acquisitions for strategic opportunities that meet all the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan and the Open Space Stewardship Plan and meet the continued focus on the stewardship of previously-purchased open space to conserve it for future generations.

 

City Council Direction: City Council concurred with the Staff recommendation.

 

4) Request: On September 18, 2019, City Council received a letter, from Bill Christopher. In the letter, Mr. Christopher made the following request: “Secondly, I would request funding in the General Fund for Westminster’s portion of a two-countywide feasibility study addressing a “master plan” to address homelessness in Westminster along with Adams and Jefferson Counties. Hopefully, other cities in the two counties and the respective county governments would participate in funding a comprehensive strategy in reducing homelessness. Kate Skarbek is doing all she can in working with other governmental and non-profit organizations in both counties to utilize available resources. However, an overall plan or strategy is needed to be coherent in working on several separate strategies at the same time. We all know that there is no “Silver Bullet” to solve homelessness. It takes several different actions to address and help resolve the reasons for homelessness. While the City should be commended for its support of affordable housing opportunities, it is not a cure all. Mental health services play an important role along with providing basic everyday living needs. Ultimately, the north area needs a collaborative effort to establish a significant homeless shelter involving the cities, counties and appropriate NGO’s.

I would request that the City Council include at least $50,000 toward a comprehensive plan for the two county area and be the catalyst to bring the area cities, counties and appropriate NGO’s together to embark upon an overall “game plan” to both assistance homeless people as well as reduce homelessness. The City wants to be innovative, bold and contemporary. Stepping up its intent to further address homelessness on a two-county basis would be a good way to demonstrate these intents.”

 

Staff Research: Since 2017, the City has had one full-time temporary staff dedicated to the City’s initiative to address homelessness. The 2020 Adopted budget approved this position permanently as a 1.0 FTE Senior Management Analyst / Special Projects position.

The Proposed Amendments to the 2020 Budget also include funding for a Regional Homeless Navigator (“Navigator”) contract position. The Navigator will provide comprehensive outreach and navigation services to persons of all ages who are experiencing homelessness. Services provided include:

 

  • crisis intervention;

 

  • provision of basic needs;

 

  • facilitation of increased access to emergency shelter;

 

  • transportation;

 

  • client advocacy and service linkage; and

 

  • case management to individuals who qualify for housing while locating appropriate housing for these individuals and families.

 

Once filled, the position will work as part of a larger interagency team with the other Jefferson County governments to coordinate outreach services and housing placement for those experiencing homelessness. Although this Navigator is part of an interagency team that includes Jefferson County governments, any individuals experiencing homelessness  in Westminster, whether they are in Adams County or Jefferson County, will be eligible for Navigator services. 

Jefferson County already has established a plan to address homelessness (which will be updated in 2020) and Adams County currently is creating their first Homeless Action Plan to be completed in 2020. These planning efforts will coincide with the hiring of the Jefferson County-wide Homeless Coordinator and the Navigator positions. City Staff is involved with both planning processes and will support each county’s efforts to work collaboratively. Representatives for the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative are also involved with these efforts. While two separate county plans may be the near-future result in order to accommodate specific needs within each county, Staff anticipates that these plans will merge and synthesize with one another, and likely the entire seven-county region in the next few years. This allows each county to move forward with strategies that best target what each is facing while the simultaneous efforts of hundreds of agencies continue to move forward to address homelessness for this region.

 

Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends funding in the amount of $59,896 in contract services for the Parks, Recreation & Libraries Department for the Navigator position and ancillary costs, in addition to maintaining the existing funding to support the Senior Management Analyst and homelessness program, as proposed.

In addition, Staff recommends this request be included and reviewed as part of the 2021-2022 biennial budget process for any further funding toward continued regional efforts in both Adams and Jefferson Counties, as well as other north area counties, to comprehensively advance efforts to address homelessness.

 

City Council Direction: City Council concurred with the Staff recommendation.

 

Conclusion

The City Manager's Office, Policy & Budget Department, and Human Resources Department would also like to acknowledge and thank the Budget Contact Team, Human Resources Team, Project Managers, and the countless City Staff across all departments for their help in the development of the proposed amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget.

Amending the Adopted 2020 Budget as proposed supports all of the City's Strategic Plan goals by ensuring citizen input is provided as the City works to implement the City Council's vision as the next urban center of the Front Range.

 

  • Visionary Leadership, Effective Governance and Proactive Regional Collaboration is accomplished through a budget process that engages City Council, City Staff, and the community in matching the Strategic Plan to the appropriation of budget resources.

 

  • Vibrant, Inclusive and Engaged Community is accomplished through the City advancing strategies that promote affordable/workforce housing and create a unique sense of community through cultural opportunities and distinct neighborhoods.

 

  • Beautiful, Desirable, Safe and Environmentally Responsible City is accomplished through the City's commitment to sustainability and continued excellent management of the City's park and open space system that provides opportunities for people to improve their personal wellness, as well as safe drinking water and roadways, and remaining a safe community in which to live, work and play.

 

  • Dynamic, Diverse Economy is accomplished by the City promoting economic development throughout the City with business attraction and retention efforts.

 

  • Financially Sustainable Government Providing Excellence in City Services is accomplished through the City working to maintain a comprehensive municipal capital infrastructure master plan.

 

  • Ease of Mobility is accomplished by the City working to improve walkability, bikeability, and mass-transit options throughout Westminster, and the region.
Respectfully submitted,


Donald M. Tripp
City Manager
ATTACHMENTS:
DescriptionUpload DateType
Resolution No. 22 Amending the 2020 Pay Plan10/7/2019Resolution
Councillor's Bill No. 37 re Proposed Amendment to the Adopted 2020 Budget10/8/2019Ordinance
Attachment A: Proposed Amendment to the 2020 Budget UPDATED 10/8/2019Attachment